Academics give high marks for National HR Standards


Academics give high marks for National HR Standards
by Marius Meyer

During 2013, 468 HR professionals from all nine provinces and four other countries met in Johannesburg to develop the first set of National HR Standards for South Africa. Several awareness sessions followed in major cities throughout the country, and presentations were also done for the HR professional bodies in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. More than that, interest was attracted from 17 countries (Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland, Kenya, Ghana, UK, USA, Australia, The Netherlands, Malaysia, Lesotho, Tanzania, Liberia and Iran).

When the standards were developed, 11 universities were involved, and since then a further 10 universities have expressed their support and interest. Some of them have started to change their curriculums to meet the National HR Standards. Two PhD students are also interested to work on the HR standards as their topic for their theses. The first master’s degree covering the HR standards was already awarded to Pauls Gibbons, General Manager of HR at Mintek. Also, the new Master’s HR Programme at North-West University Vaal Triangle Campus have been based on the HR Standards and Competencies. Moreover, a total of 19 professional bodies (HR and non-HR) supported the initiative.

Without the high level of academic participation, the HR Standards would not have been such a success. Academics at universities ensure that students are empowered with the HR standards as part of their studies, thereby ensuring that they are ready to apply the standards when they enter the workplace after completing their studies. The following universities have expressed their support:


The University of South Africa and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University have been the first two universities to publish textbooks incorporating the HR Standards. This is a clear sign of their academic commitment to the National HR Standards.

The South African standards also attracted interest from universities abroad:

  • Georgia State University, USA
  • University of Minnesota, USA
  • University of Theran, Iran
  • Bond University, Australia
  • Polytechnic of Namibia

Georgia State University featured the South African HR Standards in a new textbook covering HR in 17 countries, and SABPP authored the chapter on South Africa (launched in July 2014).  A master’s student in HR at the University of Theran in Iran will write her dissertation on the HR Risk Management Standard Element.   Some of the comments from HR academics and other leaders at universities are as follows:


“This is very exciting and will forever stand as a milestone in the HR world! ”
Dr Pierre Joubert, Head of Department: HR Management, Vaal University of Technology

 “I have perused the HR Standards document a few times and can categorically say that it is a very well-drafted document. Given its origin and given the number of people who initially provided inputs and insights, the distilled wisdom set out in the document certainly sets a standard which all of us as HR professionals can aspire to achieve.”
Karel van der Molen, Extra-ordinary Lecturer: Public Management, Stellenbosch University

“A major leap for HR towards credibility, respect and a positive image.”
Cello Gardner: Assistant Director: HR, University of Zululand.

“We wholeheartedly support this initiative and wish you every success with your endeavor. “
Sam Rosslee, Lecturer: University of South Africa

“A fascinating initiative. Congrats to the SABPP for taking it on. The extent to which a system of standards can be implemented within a people orientated social sciences dominated field will be interesting to see.”
Paul Krige, Senior HR Manager: University of Pretoria

“Congratulations to SABPP. The standards are a great achievement. We are more proud of the HR profession than before. The standards will standardise HR practice.”
Sihlangane Mgudlwa, Lecturer: HR Management, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

“Seems as if we finally have something that we can all talk about. Proud to be part of this “discovery.”
Dr Logan Naidoo,  Head of HR Department: Mangosuthu University of Technology

“We are definitely moving in the right direction in creating uniform standards and operationalizing these. Well done.”
Jerome Kiley, Lecturer: HR Management, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

“You are doing excellent work!”
Dr Elrie Botha, Director: School of Behavioural Sciences, North-West University: Faculty of Humanities, Vaal Campus

“This is excellent, thank you for providing us with a curriculum framework from the HR professionals themselves. We are aligning our curriculum accordingly.”
Anton Pelser, Senior Lecturer: HR Management, Central University of Technology, Free State

“This is not only national leadership, it is world leadership. We are aligning our Master’s Programme in HRM to the SABPP Competencies and Standards.   All students will do a self-assessment on the competencies and the curriculum will follow the standards and competencies.”
Prof Marius Stander, Programme Leader: Master’s Programme in HR: North-West University Vaaltriangle Campus

“Thank you for the huge work you are doing to put the HR profession on a different level.”
Prof Theo Veldsman, Head of Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg

“Well done on this great initiative. If I can support in any way, please let me know and I will gladly assist.”
Prof Steve Bluen, Director: Wits Business School

“Thanks a lot for this, great work! Much appreciated!
Prof Shirley Zinn, Extraordinary Professor in HR Management, University of Pretoria

“Congrats on the National HR Standard, a huge accomplishment. I followed it while on maternity leave. I plan on introducing the new MPhil students to it at their induction in March.”
Prof Suki Goodman, Head: Organisational Psychology, University of Cape Town

“We appreciate the awesome efforts of the Board and your personal commitment and passion in making a difference to our fraternity.  All the best with the process Marius.”
Michelle Ally: Manager: Professional Development, University of Johannesburg

“We are aligning our new curriculum to the new National HR Standards developed by SABPP.”
Karin Jonck, Lecturer: Cape Peninsula University of Technology

“I managed to send eight lecturers to the HR Standards session. So impressed with what has been achieved under your leadership and superb intelligence.   Encouraged HRM colleagues on HR standards. So excited about it!  Why don’t you use this awesome output for a PhD?   You created it all. I am visiting two universities in China and I want to take the standards file with to show them.”
Pharny Chrysler-Fox, UJ,  Head: HR Honours degree programme

Greetings from Australia!  Congratulations on your HR Standards work so far – to start with a model is a great sign! One of the primary reasons for having standards is to provide a base for performance evaluation.  For example a company auditor should not undertake a performance audit of HR activity  without first specifying the standards against which performance is to be measured. In auditing, standards are fundamental. In HR, they still appear to be optional in the mind of many HR practitioners.”
Dr Chris Andrews, Bond University, Australia

Building on the success of the National HR Management System Standard launched in 2013, the HR Standards journey continues in 2015.  With HR professionals in practice now for the first time united with HR academics provides an opportunity for national alignment of curriculum, research and practice.  Universities and other learning providers play a key role to build capacity around the HR Standards. Some of them will also exhibit at this year’s conference at the Sandton Convention Centre.  I am excited to see so many universities and business schools exhibiting at Leaderex together the National HR Standards Roll-out on 17 September.  Likewise, the University of Kwazulu-Natal has joined the HR Standards Journey this year, and other higher education institutions present will be the University of Cape Town, Vaal University of Technology as well as Tshwane University of Technology.  To further strengthen academic inputs, we are bring out to South Africa, Dr Chris Andrews from Bond University in Australia, the first person to complete a PhD on HR Auditing.  In addition, Prof Theoo Veldsman from the University of Johannesburg will present phase four of the National HR Standards Initiative, i.e. the new National HR Metrics Framework.  We look forward to welcome our HR academics and I want to thank the universities for their excellent support with curriculum development, teaching and research on the HR Standards.


Marius Meyer, is CEO of SABPP. Previously he lectured at the University of South Africa and the University of Johannesburg.  He is still involved in HR academic work at North-West University, University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University. More information about the 3rd Annual National HR Standards Roll-out on 17 September is available on


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